04/01/2012 23:07, Report by Adam Bostock
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Sir Alex refuses to panic

Sir Alex Ferguson insists Manchester United won't panic after back-to-back defeats enabled Manchester City to regain a clear lead on points in the Barclays Premier League.

Twenty-four hours after the Blues beat Liverpool 3-0, the Reds were unable to match their title-race rivals' winning start to 2012, instead losing to Newcastle United by the same margin.

"It's advantage to them of course," said Sir Alex. "We were playing tonight, they played last night. They won, we lost.

"It's not a time to panic. We’ve got the patience and experience to cope. But we need to get the show on the road for the run-in, particularly March and April."

Sir Alex admitted that "losing a game at the turn of the year" was unwanted but he pointed to a growing number of options as reason to still harbour hopes in this new year.

"The plus is that we had two or three players back tonight and hopefully we have one or two on the road back, that will make a difference."

The Reds manager gave great credit to the first two goals his men conceded at the Sports Direct Arena - Demba Ba's volley from Shola Ameobi's flick-on, followed by Yohan Cabaye's world-class free-kick.

"We started reasonably well," reflected Sir Alex. "The goalkeeper made a good save from Nani and we had a good chance when Wayne Rooney was through and the ball ran under his foot. That was a great opportunity and if we'd taken it, we could have gone on to win the game.

"Newcastle scored not long after that. It was a fantastic goal and it really got their fans up. They became aggressive, they got stuck right into us and made it difficult for us. It

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